Vintage Champaign (Dog N Cat DAC-081)
Disc 1, Assembly Hall, University Of Illinois, Champaign, IL – November 15th, 1969 (early show): Sam Cutler intro. / Mick’s introduction, Jumping Jack Flash, Carol, Sympathy For The Devil, Stray Cat Blues, Love In Vain, Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Under My Thumb, Midnight Rambler, Little Queenie, Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Women, Street Fighting Man
Disc 2, Palalido Palazzo Dello Sport, Milan, Italy – October 1st, 1970 (late show): Jumping Jack Flash, Roll Over Beethoven, Stray Cat Blues, Prodigal Son, Dead Flowers, Midnight Rambler. Assembly Hall, University Of Illinois, Champaign, IL – November 15th, 1969 (late show): Midnight Rambler, Little Queenie, Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Women, Street Fighting Man
Vintage Champaign is an interesting two disc collection of documents. The bulk of this release has the complete first and half of the second show the Stones played at the Assembly Hall at the University Of Champaign in Illinois just before Thanksgiving. The complete early show is found on disc one and was previously released on Cocaine On A Dentist Chair (Vinyl Gang VGP 068) where it was paired with the Los Angeles November 8th, early show. It is a fair to good audience recording that has much in clarity but is betrayed by low frequency hiss that becomes distracting during the louder parts of the music. There is a cutat the beginning of “Under My Thumb” eliminating the first verse but is otherwise complete.
Early Champaign is a competent show in front of a polite, well behaved, and quiet audience. Their silence is good for the tape but it is obvious it bothers Jagger and the band seem to suffer from the mid tour doldrums. Sam Cutler introduces the band and Jagger comes on stage and says in his best hick drawl: “Welcome to Champaign, Illinois. We’re right pleased to be here. You know it’s not too often us country folks get to be in a big town like yours but when we get here we really dig it.” The set list was heavy on the newer material from Begger’s Banquet and Let It Bleed with several Chuck Berry covers thrown in beginning with the double attack of “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Carol.”
A quick, five minute rendition of “Sympathy For The Devil” follows with a little amount of jamming by the group. Before “Prodigal Son” Jagger tells the audience they’ll do a couple of acoustic numbers. “You can come into out kitchen ’cause it’s gonna be raining outdoors. We’re gonna do a couple of songs, just Keith and me. The dentist’s chair. Come in sir. I’ll just give you a shot of cocaine.” Richards has a nasty, brilliant sounding tone to his guitar during these two songs. Before “Love In Vain” Mick apologizes for being so hoarse, “it’s been two shows. Whew!” A great version even with Mick avoiding the sustained notes during the verses. “Midnight Rambler” is introduced as “a song from the new album called Let It……” He blows the harp twice and they begin a nine minute version of the piece.
Jagger complains about how quiet the audience are after “Little Queenie” and tell them to “shake your ass” which gets the desired result. Taylor in particular goes solo crazy in the middle of the song to the annoyance of Jagger. All momentum is lost with a busted string and Jagger wants all the women in the audience to sing the chorus to “Honky Tonk Women.” “And Keith too.” Taylor is absent during most of the track as it tetters on the precipice of disaster. Things pick up for the final song “Street Fighting Man” which Mick introduces by saying, “We’re gonna do one for you which…think about. We really dug doing it for him because he was so quiet but you’ve turned out to be real NOISY.”
The last five tracks on the second disc contain the final third of the evening show in Champaign. This is all that exists of this concert and the tape is narrow sounding but is free from the distortion on the tape from the early show. The tape picks up in the middle of first line of “Midnight Rambler,” “…and everybody’s got to go.” They sound in much better form and deliver a chilling version of the piece and afterwards Jagger pauses to say, “You’re so beautiful. I think it’s time to see how beautiful. They sound beautiful, but do they look beautiful? Well you all look so delightful. I didn’t know you dressed up so much.” “Let It Bleed” someone by the taper then shouts. “Well we’re gonna do an old rock and roll one that you can all dance to…you can all do your little things…”
Jagger again tells the audience to sing and, with a tuned guitar, they play one of the more fun versions of “Honky Tonk Women” on tape. “We have to get out now” are Mick’s parting words before whipping the audience up in a frenzy before the final song of the night “Street Fighting Man.”
The first six songs on disc two is the soundtrack to the October 1st, 1970 Milan 8mm film that surfaced last year making its pressed audio disc debut. It is a good audience recording that is much more dynamic than either of the two Illinois tapes. And unlike Illinois, the Milanese are boisterous and vocal in their love of the Stones. In “Roll Over Beethoven” Jagger makes a lyrical error before the solo singing “wiggle like a glow worm” line instead of “well if you feel it like it.” Only ninety seconds of “Prodigal Son” is left on the tape and “Midnight Rambler” is cut at the very end. Vintage Champaign is a great title for anyone who collects 1969-1970 Rolling Stones. All three tape sources are enjoyable and are worth having.